When Did Social Media Become So Unsocial?

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We’re all in a hurry with too much to do in our days. I get that. We all get that. We get it especially loudly when we’re waiting on hold for an ATT specialist to help us with our billing question. But how busy have we gotten? Have we begun to disconnect from the things that matter most to us? I’d say the answer is yes. We’ve become more digital and less connected. And even our digital connections are under attack.

I post a lot on social media. It’s what I do for a living, so I’m practicing all the time. I try very hard to share good content and not just content for sharing’s sake. Yes, I share a lot of content that I have written, but I still believe in the value of the information I’m presenting. And what I’ve noticed over the last year is that all content interaction, across all social channels, has dropped to almost nil. Are people too busy to LIKE something on Facebook? Has Facebook’s advertising finally killed all organic reach to my friends? Are the memes I’m posting old and stale? Everybody likes a #TGIF post, right?

The most distressing part of this is not the lack of communication between me and my audience, it’s really about the conversations that we used to have on social media. We used to have discussions on Twitter. Can you even imagine that now? And so, if your reach on Facebook and LinkedIn is now severely limited by what you are willing to pay, well, soon Facebook will be nothing but ads. That’s the way it’s trending. And they don’t seem to be getting enough pushback from users like me, who say they’re killing what Facebook is about.

But maybe the new generation uses Facebook in a different way. As I’ve added a lot of younger people to my “friends” list, (see: Livening Up Facebook: The Next Generation) I’ve noticed a very different type of content showing up in my feed. It seems like a lot of these new friends are life coaches or fitness coaches of some kind and they seem to post cute selfies of themselves every day, to encourage their followers. They like to use Facebook LIVE like it’s a podcast. And they are super happy to show you their bathing suit bods or Lululemon bods and ask you to follow them to Valhalla.

In many ways, they are doing the exact thing I’m doing, just in a different way. They are promoting their brand, which may or may have a lot to do with how beautiful they are in a two-piece. They are professing their positive messages and asking us to join hands with them, do downward dog with them, or simply enjoy their loving positive message for the day. It’s kind of what I’m doing.

Well, except I’m writing things that I think will help people on a practical level. Like how to market their small business better. Not with me, but on their own. I’m selling, but I’m giving first. And to tell you the truth, in seven years since I’ve been in business for myself I’ve generated exactly ONE lead from Facebook. So why do I do it?

  1. I want you to have the best information that I have. Even if I’m just learning it. If I can give it to you, and help you, I’ve done my part.
  2. By giving social media marketing information to my friends, I want to be the first person you think of when you have a project that might need my help. I’m not going to ask for it. But I want you to think of asking me about it.
  3. I do believe in passing it on. I’m privileged to work with a lot of cool clients. And when I learn something as a result, I usually try to share that new lesson right away.
  4. I do believe Facebook is a “social channel” and I’m very social. Even in the real world, I’d be telling you about this new app on your phone to get drones to deliver pizza to your house in 5 minutes or less. That’s just me.

I’m not knocking my companionable life/fitness/career coaches. I’m not mad at real estate agents that keep pushing houses to my news feed. I’m just different. There’s plenty of room for all of us to use Facebook in our own way. LinkedIn too, for that matter. But, can’t we get back to having a communication or two on social channels? Won’t you LIKE several posts today and tell the author why you liked it? It gives us something to shoot for and gives us valuable feedback about what you’d like more of or less of.

Prove me wrong.

Engage in social media communication today.

I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for all of us. By liking and commenting on LinkedIn and Facebook you begin a conversational process. It may not take off the first time you try it, but you might have a few friends that are looking forward to hearing from you, for whatever reason.

Facebook is a good place for that. It used to be a better place for that when friend reach was up around 25%. Today, at 3% reach, you’re going to have to work at getting any community out of Facebook or LinkedIn. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That’s what I’m doing every day. Posting my ass off. Won’t you post and like with me?

2023 update: Organic reach on Facebook now averages 0.05%. They killed the community value years ago. Now, they are squeezing the life out of the old geezer Facebook, in hopes that Instagram and Threads are going to pick up more of your marketing dollars. Get this straight: “If you’re not paying for the service, you (your data) is the product they are selling.”

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
@jmacofearth & Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

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